This is Peter Keller from FringeSport and I am privileged today to speak with Shane McBride. Who is the owner and operator of Crossfit 557. Crossfit 557 is located in Collinsville, Illinois. Shane, how are you doing this morning?
Shane McBride: Good, yourself?
I'm doing fantastic. Before we started I was just telling you that I dropped my kids off at school and the weather is actually beautiful in Austin today, so I'm blessed for that. What do you have going on today?
Shane McBride: I am going to go to the gym here in about 20 minutes and then get some backend work done, then head over to St. Louis. We're about 20 minutes outside of St. Louis, then I'm going to head over there and workout at CrossFit Gambit with Kelley Jackson and their team today at one. It'll be a good fun filled day of training and a little bit of work.
Awesome. Tell us a little bit about yourself first of all. How do you introduce yourself, who are you?
Shane McBride: I'm the owner, operator of Crossfit 557. We started three years ago, we actually are going to have our three year anniversary this weekend. I started like a lot of CrossFit gyms out of our garage CrossFit. Our garage gym, garage box, however you would like to call it. It was like 12' by 15', 12' by 20' gym that had one squat rack. Probably 300 pounds of weights and a few kettlebells and a barbell. That's kind of where we started with Crossfit 557 and we've developed it into, now we're into a square footage spot of 6,800 square feet and we have over 150 members. It's been a long time coming but it's a process, but we've absolutely loved it.
Wow, that's awesome man. Can you talk to us a little bit about starting in a garage and then growing. Let's talk about starting in the garage first, why train people in your garage? Or why train people at all? How did that come across and come about?
Shane McBride: Well, I went to school for exercise science. I graduated from McKendree University, when I finished there I was an intern at a local commercial or global gym. That's what we would call it. I wasn't getting the opportunity that I wanted, I was doing a lot of backend desk work and selling memberships. Being a salesmen more than a personal trainer, so I actually moved to another commercial gym. Local, that had more volume coming through the doors. At that time I got to train a lot of great individuals. I got to train everybody who wanted to come in to lose weight, some athletes came in, some people with different types of disabilities. That I was able to train that made me well rounded.
From there and just to personal training I wanted to go a different avenue and start up my own business, which has always been my goal in life. At the commercial gym it was just kind of a stepping stone. Once I did that for two and half, three years I got very good experience and I went out on my own. In the mean time I had about six to eight months that I had to transition, where I trained all my clientele out of my garage. That was very interesting and they were able to kind of hang out with me each and every day in the garage. Whether it was in the morning, bright and early or whether it was untilk nine at night. It made life very interesting but it was amazing.
I love it. How did you transition then ... At what point did you know that it was time to get a proper box?
Shane McBride: In that transition time I was always looking, so I actually had the CrossFit name, Crossfit 557. There was two different locations that I was kind of bidding on or just kind of going back and forth on. One wasn't giving me the response that I would like and I just wasn't sure if the other one was too big to start off with. That's actually the current location that we're at.
Shane McBride: I didn't know what we're looking at. I was looking at anywhere from starting up a 3,000 square foot box, or that we have now at 6,800 square foot box. I just didn't know how business-wise. I know how to train people but as far as the business aspect, I wasn't sure if that was going to be enough or if that was going to be too much overhead. When we went down that path of figuring out the 6,800 square foot, we were actually able to come to an agreement with the landlord. He was able to help us out a lot, that I didn't even know that you were even able to do that. He helped us out in the first year to help us build our clientele.
That's great to hear. I do see a lot of people who go a little bit too big too early, but in your case it seems to of worked out really well. If you had to go back and do it again, would you do that same ... You know take that same move and take the larger box?
Shane McBride: I would, well honestly with the area that I'm in. I have very good networking with me being born and raised from Troy, and it's about 10 minutes away. All these surrounding areas Collinsville, Belleville, Maryville, all these surrounding areas. I've done sports my whole life so I've actually been in sports training, so I know a lot of coaches. I know a lot of dads, moms that I've dealt with their kid and with the sports training. I have a very good clientele to start up with. As far as me starting from scratch and not having any clientele, I don't know if I would of started that big.
I do know that I started with, the first day we had fourteen memberships that were from my clients. That moved from my garage into the gym. Then within that first week we had 30 memberships sold so it was a good base, good start to start fresh. I wasn't starting with zero, I ended up starting with 30 clients just to start off the first box.
Wow, that's awesome man. Let me take slightly different cut at that same question and then we'll move on. If a fledgling box owner or affiliate was coming to you with the same conundrum, "Hey do I start with a 3,000 square foot or an almost 7,000 square foot facility?" How would you advise that person?
Shane McBride: I feel like that question is a double edge sword sometimes. I do know that there's been boxes in the past that have went too small too soon and they've been in their contract for five year and they cannot get out of their contract, so they've actually had to sublease their contract. Then they've actually had to buy a bigger building because they are just out growing it. I've seen that happen but I've also seen where they went too big and they just can't fulfill the space and their overhead is too much.
As far as what I would advise them, I would just sit down with them and just kind of talk to them and just see what their goals are. Just see what is truly attainable first, and just see if their goals matchup with the box that their wanting to run. They might say that they want a big box but then they say they'd be happy with 100 members. Well, if their happy with 100 members, we need to find out what is a good clientele or a good path to go down. Because 100 members wouldn't support a large, large box unless you're on the coast or a big city.
Great answer man, I love it. Let's dive into something that's a little bit different. You're a four times regional athlete, can you talk to us a little bit about that?
Shane McBride: Yes, four times regional athlete, two time at the North Central Region, and then two since they've made the North Central and the Central East Region. Combined to make the super region or as you would call it, the Central Region. I've been there twice also, it's been a great experience. I love competing, I've been competing my whole life so it always gives me something to strive for. My members are amazing and they back me 100 percent of the time.
On Friday nights we actually have workouts during the open, like the open workout on Friday nights. We use it as a big community thing, we actually do in-house competitions so everyone is involved. Everybody on Friday nights, we don't have any class Friday nights, everybody gets together. Everybody does a class workout, or sorry the class workout would actually be the open workout for that day. Everybody does it together then at the very end of the night it'll be myself and I'll have a few others come train with me and do the workout with me. Everybody will stand around and cheer us on, so it's actually been a great community builder. On top of that I just I love to compete each and every year, and to strive for me to getting better. Just figuring out where my limits are, which is just awesome.
Man, I love it and I love how you've integrated it into the box. It seems like it creates a really healthy and competitive but positive energy. Are there other ways that has either positively or negatively affected you as a box owner? The fact that you're a regional athlete many times over.
Shane McBride: Yes, a little bit of both. I wouldn't say that it's negative but it's just maybe different clientele. Since I am four times regional competitor I feel that a lot of the competitors around the area will gravitate towards us, which is a great thing. Then with the kind of intimidation factor, we also play a even playing field so it doesn't matter if you're there to lose 100 pounds. Whether you're there to gain weight, whether you're an ex-athlete. What ever it may be, we want to help you out. We have one lady that's been there, she's 65 years old. She's been there since we've started, she ones of my first clients that were out of the gym that were also out of the commercial gym. We treat her just as we would an athlete in the sense of looking their goals quarterly, making sure their staying on the right path. Making sure if there are any hiccups that we set new goals to help that out.
As far as a competitor, we do get a little bit more competitors in our box. I just explain to them and educate, anybody and everybody that walks through the door every CrossFit gym is different. How we run a CrossFit gym is going to be different then the person on their own and how they run a CrossFit gym. Truly in the sense of that, what CrossFit gym they like might not be what CrossFit gym their friend likes. We ask them to come in, we have a foundations program, they go through that. I believe they just see the value that we bring to the table and then they make their decision. Based on kind of how our foundation is set up.
Awesome, sounds great man. Well, this has been just a really quick interview but I feel that we got some really interesting stuff out of it. Is there anything else you would like to say to our audience?
Shane McBride: No, not at all. It's been great, I appreciate you having me.
Yes, it's a pleasure. It's a pleasure, and if clients or maybe even other box owners or somebody like that wants to contact you. What's the best way for them to get a hold of you?
Shane McBride: They can gt a hold me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All right, Shane. It's been a real pleasure. Thanks for making some time for us and have a great day.
Shane McBride: Thanks so much, I appreciate it.